My Secret to making a Red Lip work

Do Red Lips Scare You?

We are a generation of smoky eyes, nude lips. In fact, a Regular Red Lip wearer is seen as a rare thing these days.


In decades gone by it was seen as the norm. It’s chic, it’s low effort.

I actually just spent 2 days in Paris working with a brand, talking to various Beauty Editors, Journalists, Bloggers and Influencers. I found it fascinating that over in France, a red lip is still seen as the norm. The more mature, experienced editors were effortlessly chic wearing barely there base, a lick of mascara and a red lip. They didn’t look unfinished, or unbalanced, they just looked elegant and utterly Parisian.

For us mere mortal, non Parisian chic ladies, a Red Lipstick can be our nemesis.

For MANY years, I stuck to my ‘Your Lips But Better’ shade or a muted Tawny Pink/Brown. I easily veered into Peaches and Corals but Red always felt rather out of my comfort zone.

This Bright Red is by Lisa Eldridge called Velvet Morning

This Bright Red is by Lisa Eldridge called Velvet Morning

However, I now have a few tricks up my sleeve and I can comfortably wear a Red Lip anywhere. I mean, literally as easily for an awards ceremony as to Sainsburys.

The trick is always BALANCE.

Over in my makeup education group, Beauty Unfiltered, I have a full instructional step by step video showing EXACTLY how I do this so do pop over and request to join. A quick search in the group for Red Lip should take you straight to it…

Balance means that you can wear a stronger lip without it feeling like you’ve gone ‘too far’ with your makeup.

Here’s what I mean… Lipstick is usually the very last thing to go on isn’t it? It’s the finishing touch. Often it’s the product that is applied a while after the makeup is finished, say, on the train, in the car or just before you pop into a meeting. You’ve evened out your skin, maybe added bronzer, blusher and you’ve done your eyes. If you’re used to wearing eyeliner and eye shadow and you make that a feature on your face, your usual lippie will just fit in with that, in the background, complimenting and flattering without overpowering.

So, here’s my trick. Do it backwards…

Whaaaaaat? Well, not quite fully backwards, but let’s definitely switch up the order.

Firstly, get your base on, make it as flawless as you can without it looking heavy. So pay extra attention to the concealer part, take back any redness from round your nose, patches, spots as well as you can. Set lightly with powder and finish this off by warming up the skin with a little bronzer. Just enough to break up the flatness of the foundation. Not to add contour, just to add warmth.

The next step should be eyes, right?

Nope.  

I favour a relatively good amount of eyeliner and mascara on my everyday look. If I put my eyes on as normal, to be balanced out by my usual choice of lipstick, that red lip will tip the balance. And makeup needs to be balanced. That’s what makes people feel ‘overdone’ in a red.

So, by putting your lipstick on first, you can see what definition you need on your eyes with the red lip there already. It’ll be a lot less than you would usually need with a nude lip.

Try it! It feels strange but it makes sense.

Have a look at this video I made explaining and demonstrating it

When it comes to choosing a red, you don’t have to go from 0-100 and straight into a bright letterbox red. There are an infinite number of red options before you get to that.

Test the waters by opting for a sheerer, less opaque texture, such as a lip stain/tinted balm.

I suggest to people to mix or layer a red with your usual nude lipstick to redden it up as an interim option.

If you prefer a more opaque texture but the boldness of a bright red scares you, go either side of red to a bold coral or a raspberry. The lip colour I used in the above video is by Laura Mercier called Coral Reef, a bright coral based Red.

The finished look from the video.

The finished look from the video.

But by making it the focus of your look, the rest of your makeup can fit in beautifully around it.

Katy